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Friday, June 29, 2001

  • Happy birthday Canada!
  • Dean of science winds up his term
  • Friday notes

Smog advisory extended
[Canada Day logo]

Happy birthday Canada!

Canada turns 134 this Sunday, and Waterloo Region will celebrate the holiday on UW's north campus with the 17th annual Canada Day festivities sponsored by UW and its Federation of Students.

The event is expected to attract over 50,000 people to the area just north of Columbia Street, above Columbia Lake.

To satisfy healthy appetites, there will be affordable meals from a variety of vendors. Proceeds from the UW food tent -- selling hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and soft drinks -- go to support the fireworks and festivities.

"It is amazing to see what students working together can accomplish," says student event manager Amy

The holiday Monday

The Canada Day holiday will be observed at UW on Monday, July 2. No classes are scheduled that day, and university offices and most services will be closed.

The Davis Centre and Dana Porter Libraries will be open from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday and on Monday. The circulation desks will be open from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, but will not be open on Monday. The map and design library will be open from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, but will be closed on the holiday Monday.

Of course, some key services continue as always:

  • UW police: on duty 24 hours, 888-4911.
  • Student Life Centre: open 24 hours, turnkey desk 888-4434.
  • Maintenance emergencies: phone ext. 3793, 24-hours-a-day.
And it's possible to reach anybody who happens to be at work at any hour through the automated switchboard -- 888-4567.
Davidson, referring to the more than 300 UW volunteers who help make the UW Canada Day celebrations a success. "It's wonderful to work with such a dedicated team, who are so committed to improving the celebrations each year."

Most of UW's parking lots will be open and free. It would be smart to enter campus from University Avenue, as Columbia Street between Westmount Road and North Campus Road (the main campus entrance) will be closed from 1 p.m. until after the fireworks.

Some of the attractions to watch for are the Windclimbers professional kite flying demonstration on the upper field beginning at noon, demonstrations of the UW student-designed cars, and Royal Medieval Faire actors in the crowd.

Daytime activities begin on Columbia Field at 2 p.m. with children's games, face painting and musical entertainment. Laser Quest and live entertainment on the main stage will entertain families through the twilight hours until 10 p.m. when the crowds gather to watch the much anticipated musically enhanced fireworks show.

The Canada Day event receives support and sponsorship from many local businesses and organizations. Among them are 96.7 CHYM FM, The Record, Galaxy Cinemas, City of Waterloo and Domino's Pizza.

Dean of science winds up his term -- by Chris Redmond

"I've very much enjoyed being dean," says John Thompson (below, right), whose last day as UW's dean of science will be June 30. He has been in office for eleven years -- longer than anyone else in the history of the science faculty, and second in the all-time dean's hit parade.

Thompson was formerly chair of UW's biology department, then spent a brief period at the University of Guelph before returning to UW to take the dean's job on July 1, 1990. Now he can hardly wait to get back to his research laboratory and, starting next winter, to the classroom.

[Thompson] "I have a very large research program," says Thompson, who has been one of UW's biggest grant recipients year after year even while doing the full-time job of dean. He credits his graduate students and lab staff ("very good people") for keeping the work going while he hasn't been able to spend much time on it. The work is in the area of senescence -- studies, at the cellular and molecular level, of what changes can be seen as organisms grow older. "What are the mechanisms of aging?" Thompson asks. "When we know, it opens the way to being able to modulate these mechanisms through intervention."

As of next week, he begins a six-month leave during which he'll get back up to speed on the research, as well as travelling to institutions in Israel ("I have a collaboration there") and California.

Looking back on eleven years, Thompson insists that "Any success that we've had is not attributable to me. It's attributable to a team effort right across the faculty. One couldn't ask for better colleagues."

He notes that while the economic squeeze of the past few years, especially the early retirement program of 1996, cost science some of its fine researchers and teachers, it also opened the way to hire talented newcomers, at a time when other universities weren't yet in hiring mode.

"We've hired very well in science," he says, pointing especially to the number of young science professors who have received Premier's Research Excellence Awards in the last few years.

A strong voice, but a soft one

"It's been a very challenging job and a very rewarding job," says John Thompson about his time as dean, the chief academic and administrative officer of a faculty that, as he especially likes to point out, leads the university in research funding.

It's not hard to hear colleagues say good things about Thompson's leadership, and his willingness to advance the interests of science as he sits on university-wide bodies such as deans' council and the senate. "When John is at a meeting or reception," says a senior faculty member from another part of the university, "he has one agenda: promote research and the faculty of science."

But the soft-spoken dean is also, that observer went on, "a strong voice for a university -- especially the University of Waterloo -- to have a broad range of disciplines in areas outside of mathematics, engineering and science. To this end he has developed many interdisciplinary programs, crossing faculties, that have added to the wealth of programs on this campus."

Thompson himself notes that the development of new programs has been a major feature of his years as dean. "Science is increasingly seen as a springboard," he says, stressing "the coupling of scientific literacy with other kinds of skills". So the faculty recently launched a science-and-business program, a program in computational science, and one in bioinformatics. "Much of what is new and exciting," he says, "is what is happening at the interfaces."

He continues: "It's fair to say that we have major research strengths in all the departments. And it's research that embraces both the basic and the applied." He puts great stress on that balance, noting that scientists traditionally have emphasized "pure" or basic research, but that's no longer enough.

"The new pinnacles of technology are increasingly coming from basic research in the natural sciences," he says. And since research is "done with taxpayers' money", funded for the good of Canada as a whole, there's an obligation on researchers to pay some attention to how their findings can be applied.

UW's science faculty has accepted that obligation with enthusiasm, he says, perhaps partly because of "the ethos of this university", the presence of an engineering faculty next door that's already heavily involved in applied research.

Friday notes

Co-op students in their 1B term are reminded that their résumé packages and completed continuous phase registration forms are due today at the paging desk in Needles Hall.

Today kicks off the start of the 1990-91 chem/biochem alumni reunion which will last through to Sunday. Participants will be camping in the Waterloo area and taking in UW's Canada Day celebrations on Sunday as part of their activity-filled weekend.

And performances of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour continue today and tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in HH 180. Tickets are available at the door -- $12 for evening shows, $10 for matinees.

Avvey Peters


[UW logo] Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
Copyright © 2001 University of Waterloo